– Bishop Kukah tells the National Catholic Police Force Chaplains.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah has charged the Chaplains in the Police Force to live out their vocations properly as priests.
In a homily at a Mass with the Chaplains, Bishop Kukah said: “You are all called to be witnesses to Christ in a different and special dimension. Hold up the light of Christ for all to see, and in obedience to the Church. Your obedience to the Church comes first”.
He further charged: “You are first Priests, who are in the Police Force” and enjoined them to live out their faith in truth and sincerity, irrespective of who is in authority.
In Nigeria today, Bishop Kukah said, the Police Force is believed to be the most corrupt institution, because of the close and open nature in and with which the Force lives and interacts with the people but that the same is not said of the military. Therefore, priests are called to bear witness in a very special dimension. He advised the Police Chaplains to always be positive in accepting their appointments because “wherever you are is where God wants you to be. Wear and live your Priesthood with pride. Be the light that radiates the light of hope to the people. You are chaplains to the entire Police force.”
In a remark, the Police Force Chaplain, Rev. Fr. (S.P.) John Gbatsoron thanked the Bishop for the warmly receiving them in his Diocese, adding his hospital to the participants is unmatched. He also thanked his colleague and host chaplain, Rev. Fr (S.P.) Paul Omotosho for accepting to host them and for the great and numerous works he has been doing to uphold and build the police chaplaincy in Sokoto diocese. The development activities both physical and spiritual he added, are obvious, concrete and self-evident.
The Mass of the Holy Spirit to flag off the Chaplains retreat was celebrated by His Lordship Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, flanked by the Vicar General Pastoral of Sokoto Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. J.C. Atado and the Force Chaplain Rev. Fr. (S.P.) John Gbatsoron, and other concelebrating priests.
During the Mass, the Bishop also administered the Sacrament of Confirmation on 86 candidates of St. James Chaplaincy, to the joy of their parish priest, Rev. Fr. (S. P.) Paul Omotosho and the entire parish.
In his homily, Bishop Kukah encouraged the newly confirmed to be steadfast and hold firm to the Catholic faith, especially now that they have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. According to him, many behave as if they have never heard anything about the Holy Spirit. John’s baptism, he says, was a baptism of conversion while real Baptism comes with the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit and enjoined them to reflect the gifts of the Holy Spirit in daily life.
Bishop Kukah further counselled that: “As a gift of the Holy Spirit, Wisdom helps us to make certain judgement, which may appear foolish to the world. God’s wisdom, as scripture tells us, is foolishness to the world. The gift of fortitude is given to us not just to bear the loss of a loved one, but to enable us accept all that comes to and happens to us in good faith and uniformity with the will of God”.
He added that: “Names are chosen at confirmation. We are to always have before us the image of the saints whose names we chose and emulate their good and exemplary life, believing that they are always at our intercessions whenever we seek them in prayers, believing that they are always beholding the face of God in heaven. We are not to chose names for the mere sake of it; our name is our Christian identity. Baptism is our spiritual circumcision and identity, not ethnicity”.
During the celebration, the Bishop officially consecrated the tabernacle of St James Catholic Chaplaincy, Farfaru, Sokoto, for the permanent reposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Bishop Kukah left immediately after the Mass for the airport to join his brother Bishops in Abeokuta for the Second Plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria.
Sokoto state and its environs have been blessed with very pleasant weather in recent times. And it is to this cool and pleasant atmosphere that the National Catholic Police Force Chaplains came into the ancient city of Sokoto and Seat of the Caliphate. Highlights of the occasion was a dinner for the Chaplains by Bishop Kukah for the entire Police Chaplains and the Priests and Religious of the diocese at the Bishop’s court.
It was a very colorful and entertaining evening with performances by the Zumunta Mata Katolica of St. James Catholic Church Farfaru, children of the Holy Child Society, and the Catholic Igbo Youth cultural group.
The retreat by the National Catholic Police Force Chaplains hosted by the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto held from the 9 – 13th September 2019, at the Kingdom Hall Pastoral Centre, Sokoto, Sokoto State. The retreat is being directed by Very Rev. Fr. Dr. J. C. Atado, (Vicar General Pastoral of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, and the Director of the Catechetical Training Centre, Malumfashi, Katsina State.
- Rev. Fr. Chris Omotosho (Director of Social Communication, Catholic Diocese of Sokoto).